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bour and not suffer sin upon him.” (Levit. xix. 17.) But in order that it may be applied with advantage, our own hands must in the first instance be clean Otherwise, it were generally better that rebuke were not administered at all, since those reproved are only hardened and encouraged in their vicious courses by the apparent hypocrisy of the reprover. For however we may pretend to an anxiety to see our friends free from the faults to which we are subject, men will never be induced to believe that we love them better than ourselves and our interference will be more apt to produce harm than good, if ascribed, as it naturally will be, to officiousness rather than to good-nature, to censoriousness and impertinence rather than to goodwill. At the same time, it too often happens that those who may be said to have “beams in their own eyes” are not conscious of their situation. For several excuses occur to justify our own conduct which could not be admitted by us in favour of others ; and we are remarkably keen-sighted in detecting the mistakes of others, while errors of a more serious character are overlooked in ourselves. Our own is an exceptional case, there being reasons to justify it which do not exist in the case of others, and our affairs may admit of liberties which ordinary circumstances deny to them. But the misfortune is, that however conclusive such reasoning may appear to our own eyes, the
rest of the world can never be satisfied with it; and
; though we seem to ourselves to preserve a straight and upright carriage, everyone around us maintains that we are walking with a crooked and stooping gait. Therefore it is no wonder that most people are unwilling to receive instruction from such imperfect teachers, and that the advantages of our remonstrances, however reasonable, are wholly precluded-so important is it to keep ourselves “unspotted from the world,” not merely on our own account, but for the sake of the world itself, which is otherwise deprived of the fruits of a talent which our inconsistency contributes to bury in the earth. If these reflections must weigh with private Christians in preserving a conscience void of offence, it is doubly imperative upon those whose situation and circumstances demand the frequent discharge of the duty in question, “to provide things honest in the sight of all men," lest their good be evil spoken of. Most people are more capable of emulating the bad examples than of practising the good precepts of their superiors. And if gross irregularities disfigure the conversation of pastors, teachers, or those whose authority is generally respected, we are not to be surprised that the mass of the people are not much better. The blind are not to be expected to lead the blind. If the blind lead the blind, we know the consequence _“ both fall into the ditch.” Oh! that all of us,
therefore, who have undertaken such heavy responsibilities, would seriously regard the solemn warning which our Master has given us.
Oft have I turned my eyes within,
Here with a thousand arts she tries
She hides my follies from mine eyes,
Rend, O my God! the veil away,
So shall humility divine
The Fifth Sunday after Trinity.
GRANT, O Lord, we beseech Thee, that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered by Thy governance, that Thy Church may joyfully serve Thee in all godly quietness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“ Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing : but contrari. wise blessing ; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing."-1 PETER Üï. 9.
utter cursing, and the children of the world whose portion is appointed in the way of perdition,"render evil for evil.” But how doth evil become the lips which God hath blessed, and cursing become the souls which Christ hath “redeemed from the curse of the law" } Like begets like. The fruitful field will not yield brambles, nor will the well-cultured garden send forth a crop of rank and noxious weeds. But, alas for the feuds which divide the Church of God, and the dissensions which rend the seamless vesture of Jesus! Is there no way to see the truth, but through the medium of asperity? Is there no way to reclaim the wanderer, but by the harshness of vituperation or sarcastic scorn? “ The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God," and the intemperance of party spirit co-operates not with the spirit of Christ. Hard names, severe epithets, wilful misrepresentations, and mutual recriminations—these are the things which grieve the Spirit of Peace, and the things which give occasion to the adversary to triumph. Compose, O Lord, our angry strifes, and still the wayward schisms of Thy church; that as we are all called by one name, and own one profession, and acknowledge the sovereignty of one common Lord, we may bear the lighter differences each of the other, and, giving to our weaker brethren the right-hand of fellowship, join our united forces against the enemies of our general peace! Oh, when shall our mutual harmony move us again to be Thy disciples! Oh, when shall it again be said, “How those Christians love one another !”